As artists, we weave little pieces of our souls into our work. It tracks that we must take extra care to replenish ourselves. Here are my favorite ways to unwind and renew my spirit:
Fix Your Crown: Swear to dry-shampoo my hair affects my mood. When I was a kid my mom helped me prepare for big tests by playing classical music while I studied, cooking fish for dinner, and blowing out my hair. Whether you go as low-commitment as a hair-mask or as daring as a fresh chop, showing your tresses some TLC can shake you out of a slump.
Make Something Imperfect: Speaking to my fellow “gifted children” here: You are allowed to do things badly. Tend your garden and celebrate what grows instead of lamenting what withers. Not only is creating without expectations relaxing, it teaches you to roll with the punches when the thing you’re supposed to be an expert at doesn’t turn out perfect the first time.
Phone a Friend: Everyone needs a friend or two who really knows what to say when you’re struggling to feel like yourself. If you don’t have these relationships already it is NEVER too late to cultivate them. Volunteer work has been a real blessing for me in finding like-minded people to remind me that I am a good person worthy of the same kindness I am happy to show others.
Let a Dog Rescue You: Y’all know I couldn’t write a whole blog about self-care without suggesting you adopt a dog or two. Real talk, my oldest fur baby is 13 and I have definitely had days when she was the only reason I pulled myself out of bed in the morning. If your circumstances make it impossible to get a dog, consider volunteering at an animal shelter. Just taking a shelter dog for a walk can really boost your mood (and theirs!). Which brings us to my next tip:
Commune with Nature: Maybe this is due to all the fire brewing in my belly, but water always renews my soul. If a beach trip isn’t in the cards or the forest is too far away, go for a walk around your neighborhood and feel the sun on your skin. Stop to watch the silly squirrels or make a point to wave at every person you walk past. Make note of the flowers you see thriving, perhaps it will inspire you to plant your own garden. Or if you’re not so outdoorsy:
Redecorate Your Space: Adorn your walls with pictures that remind you of the people and places you love. Seek out original art that speaks to you. This doesn’t need to be an expensive habit! One of my favorite pieces— a framed cross-stitch that says, “I know I’m gonna make it cuz God don’t sponsor no flops”—cost a dollar at a thrift store. It’s priceless to me because it makes me smile and gives me faith every time I see it.
Move Your Body: Dance around your living room, do some yoga. Remember that dog I told you to adopt? Squeeze in a mini arm-workout with a round or two of rope toy tug-o-war. Finding small ways to get your blood pumping for 30 mins a day is super important self-care.
Count Your Blessings: Start a gratitude journal where you jot down pleasant experiences, compliments, etc. Not only is the practice of writing the good stuff down wonderful for your mental wellness but you can return to your gratitude journal in times of stress and read it as a reminder that your life is full of happy things, too.
Therapy is Good for Everyone: I whole-heartedly believe we should work to remove the stigma surrounding seeking therapy and recommend it for absolutely everyone. It may take some time to find the right professional but especially if your health insurance covers it why not? We could all benefit from an impartial party to listen to us.
If you’d like to share your favorite form of self-care I would love to hear about it in the comments below.